Can You Go to Jail for Fighting in Public?
Maybe you had a little too much to drink at the bar one night and let a disagreement get out of hand. Or perhaps you were standing up for someone or trying to prove a point. Whatever your reasons and the specific circumstances, you were caught fighting in public.
Now you’re worried about going to jail. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that, yes, you can go to jail for fighting in public. However, if that happens or how long you stay there depends on many factors. The best thing you can do to help yourself is to hire a skilled Nashville criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney can protect your interest, stand up for your rights, and ensure the best outcome possible in your charges.
Types of Criminal Charges for Fighting
Fighting in public can result in several different charges, which all carry separate penalties. Your Nashville criminal defense lawyer can discuss the various charges with you and help craft a defense that will be the most successful.
If you do get caught fighting in public, you risk receiving one of three basic charges:
- Disorderly conduct
- Simple assault
- Aggravated assault—either intentional or reckless
In Tennessee, disorderly conduct is defined by statute as engaging “in fighting or in violent or threatening behavior” in a public place, such as in a bar, store, parking lot, sidewalk, or park. It’s a Class C misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $50, or both.
Only one of the following elements needs to be present for a simple assault charge:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to someone
- Intentionally or knowingly causing another to reasonably fear imminent injury
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with someone that can be regarded as offensive or provocative
Simple assault is typically a Class A misdemeanor. Those convicted on this type of charge could receive up to one year in jail and a fine of as much as $2,500 or both.
Aggravated assault occurs when behavior results in serious bodily injury or involves the use of a deadly weapon. The deadly weapon — for example, a beer bottle, baseball bat, tire iron, brick, or knife only needs to be in the assaulter’s possession for an aggravated assault weapon. The assailant doesn’t have to use it on the victim physically.
Suppose an aggravated assault is intentional and the assailant was out to get their victim. In that case, it’s a Class C felony, which carries a sentence of as many as 15 years in prison. If it is merely reckless assault, it’s charged as a Class D felony with a prison term of between two and 12 years upon conviction.
Get Help from Our Seasoned Nashville Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you were caught fighting in public, it’s in your best interest to contact a seasoned Nashville criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you have legal representation, the better your outcome will be. Contact Raybin & Weissman, Attorneys at Law, today for help. We can be reached by phone at 615-256-6666 or online.